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B.C. First Nations health gets $8.2 billion in federal funding to fix ‘disparities’

Prime Minister announces funding at the Squamish Nation in West Vancouver
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau embraces Wayne Christian (Wenecwtsin), right, First Nations Health Authority Deputy Chair, as he jokes about knowing the prime minister’s late father, former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, while speaking during an announcement about First Nations health-care funding at the Squamish First Nation, in West Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, April 14, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The First Nations Health Authority in British Columbia will receive $8.2 billion over the next decade to help 200 Indigenous communities in a federal government renewal of funding.

During an announcement at the Squamish Nation in West Vancouver, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the authority has transformed the way health is delivered to First Nations in B.C.

Trudeau says today’s announcement is about ensuring First Nations have the best possible health outcomes, and this type of collaboration is needed across the country.

The authority took over health care for B.C. First Nations in 2013 from the federal government for the planning, management and delivery of health programs.

The government says in a statement that fixing the disparities in First Nations health care can only be achieved by addressing the cultural, social, economic and historical disadvantages that have led to intergenerational trauma.

Wayne Christian, the deputy chair of the First Nations Health Council, says Indigenous people have been struggling with the colonial impacts of genocide and systemic racism and changing that system will take some time.

The First Nations Health Authority is the first of its kind in Canada, although five other similar health initiatives are underway in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba, where there are two.

Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu told the same crowd that the First Nations Health Authority is an inspiration for the rest of the country.

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